Do it before you're ready

When I first started skimo racing, I planned on easing myself into it. I planned on doing things only when I felt ready. Caution has its advantages, but perhaps not with learning.

At the beginning of December, I raced in the Vert 180 for the first time, a lapped race at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. I hadn’t done the race before because I thought that I wouldn’t like the format. But I was dead wrong. It’s the most fun race that I’ve done.

And not doing the race a long time ago was a tactical error that cost me this year.

The format of the race is as many laps as possible in three hours. I held back for the first half hour because I wanted to finish strong. The race went well, but I held back too much in the beginning, and it cost me an extra lap.

When I got home, I looked at my splits. They were gratifyingly negative, with the average lap time trending lower and lower throughout the race.

Chart of lap times versus average

But the second two laps were way above the average. I had missed the cut off for another lap by only two minutes, but holding back had cost me three.

I didn’t do as well as I could have because of ignorance. If I had done the race years earlier, I would have been familiar with the format and could have raced a lot smarter this season.

By waiting until I felt ready, I missed out on a tactical opportunity.

My caution cost me.